Mar 8
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Boreal felt lichen

Boreal felt lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum)

Species: Boreal felt lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The boreal felt lichen is known as the ‘panda bear’ of lichens because of its extreme rarity.

The boreal felt lichen is a ‘leafy’ species that grows on the branches and trunks of trees. When hydrated, it has a bluish-grey colour, but when dry it is darker grey-brown. The edges of this lichen typically curl up to expose whitish undersides.

The boreal lichen consists of two different organisms, a ‘mycobiont’ (a fungus) and a ‘phycobiont’ (a cyanobacterium – a bacterium that can photosynthesise), which live together in a symbiotic association.  The presence of the cyanobacteria makes the boreal felt lichen particularly sensitive to atmospheric pollution such as acid rain.

The boreal felt lichen was formerly known from Norway, Sweden, and Canada. Today, the species is thought to be restricted to two disjunct populations: a boreal population on Newfoundland, and a vastly depleted Atlantic population on Nova Scotia. The remaining populations are found in cool, moist, old-growth coniferous forests, and grow predominately on the trunks of balsam fir (Abies balsamea).

In addition to being highly sensitive to atmospheric pollutants such as acid rain, the boreal felt lichen is extremely vulnerable to habitat loss. Logging and air pollution have contributed towards a decline of more than 90% of the Atlantic population.

The Atlantic population of the boreal felt lichen is protected in Canada under the Federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), and is the focus of an ongoing recovery strategy. Crucially, efforts are being made, through land purchases and agreements with landowners, to formally protect areas of forest that are home to this rare species. Furthermore, conservationists are engaging with private and government forest managers to encourage their participation in the mapping of boreal felt lichen habitats and the implementation of management plans that will prevent further habitat loss.

Find out more about the boreal felt lichen at the Government of Canada Species at Risk Public Registry.

See images of the boreal felt lichen on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author.

Mar 1
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Addax' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Addax

Female addax and young

Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)

Species: Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: An addax is able to obtain all the water it requires from the food it consumes.

The addax is a desert antelope that is well adapted to its harsh habitat. It has splayed hooves that help it to travel more easily across sand. Its short, glossy coat is grey-brown in winter, fading to almost white during the summer, and both sexes possess the distinctive long, twisted horns.

These antelope are mainly active during the night. In the day, they dig ‘beds’ into the sand in shady areas to avoid the heat of the desert sun, which also shelters them from sandstorms. Small nomadic herds of this species spend the majority of their time wandering in search of food. These herds previously contained around 20 individuals, but today they are found in groups of four or less.

Once found across northern Africa, wild addax populations now only exist in a fragment of their former range. This dramatic decrease is mainly attributed to over-hunting, as their meat and leather is prized by local people. Other factors contributing to their decline include desertification, drought and habitat encroachment. It is estimated that fewer than five hundred individuals survive in the wild today, with the bulk of these found between the Termit region in eastern Niger and the Bodélé region in western Chad.

International trade of the addax is prohibited and the Sahara Conservation Fund has developed a regional strategy to protect the remaining wild populations and facilitate the re-colonisation of suitable habitats. A protected population exists in the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel that was set up in 1968 to bolster populations of endangered desert species. There are currently around 2,000 individuals in captivity around the world that are being used in reintroduction programmes in Tunisia and Morocco.

Find out more about the addax at the Sahara Conservation Fund and WildAddax.

See images and videos of the addax on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

Feb 22
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Bermuda cave amphipod

Bermuda cave amphipod (<em>Pseudoniphargus grandimanus</em>)

Bermuda cave amphipod (Pseudoniphargus grandimanus)

Species: Bermuda cave amphipod (Pseudoniphargus grandimanus)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: Juvenile Bermuda cave amphipods are found far closer to the shore than adults.

More information:

The Bermuda cave amphipod is a colourless, eyeless amphipod that lacks a rostrum (a forward-projecting spine found between the eyes of most crustaceans). The upper lip is broadly rounded and the lower lip has large inner lobes. Male Bermuda cave amphipods are known to reach lengths of 6.5 to 8 millimetres.

The Bermuda cave amphipod is found in anchialine caves. These are coastal caves that are flooded with seawater via subterranean connections with the ocean. This species has been found in water of varying levels of salt concentration throughout a wide variety of anchialine limestone cave and groundwater habitats. Juvenile Bermuda cave amphipods are found far closer to the sea coast than adults, typically just 11 to 180 metres away, compared to 147 to 853 metres for adults.

Large adults, but notably no specimens carrying eggs, have been found further inland from the sea coast than juveniles. This could indicate a dependence on coastal marine habitats for reproduction, and that juveniles may migrate inland to mature.

The Bermuda cave amphipod is endemic to Bermuda, as its name suggests. Is has been recorded from wells, waterworks and cave waters in Hamilton, St George’s, Devonshire, Paget, Smith’s and Warwick Parishes in Bermuda. Caves in which it has been found include Church, Wonderland, Admiral’s and Government Quarry Caves.

 

Find out more about the Bermuda cave amphipod at Anchialine Caves and Cave Fauna of the World.

See images of the Bermuda cave amphipod on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

 

Feb 8
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: Café marron

Café marron flowers and leaves

Café marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii)

Species: Café marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact:

On sending his pupils out to explore for rare and interesting plants, a school teacher on the island of Rodrigues in 1980 was astounded when one of his students returned with a fresh cutting of a plant believed to be extinct.

More information:

The café marron had last been seen in the 1940s, and is now known from just a single wild individual on the island of Rodrigues. The café marron grows as a shrub or small tree, with oppositely arranged leaves. The sweetly scented, hermaphroditic flowers are greenish-yellow at first, but become pure white at maturity.

The café marron cannot self-fertilise. This prevents plants from inbreeding, while promoting out-crossing, which increases the genetic vigour of offspring. However, the inability to self-fertilise becomes somewhat less advantageous when a plant’s global population is reduced to a single individual.

It was probably a combination of introduced herbivores, invasive alien plants, and habitat loss that decimated the café marron population. Owing to the unprecedented level of scientific interest that surrounded the little plant in the aftermath of its rediscovery, local people became convinced of the plant’s medicinal properties. Consequently, there was a period before the erection of multiple fences, and even the installation of a guard, when people were intent on removing branches, twigs and leaves from the hapless plant.

Relatively soon after the rediscovery of the café marron, cuttings from the surviving plant were sent to Kew Gardens in England. In 2003, a major breakthrough was made, resulting in the production of a small number of viable seeds. Since then, several seeds have been successfully germinated at a nursery on Rodrigues, with the aim of eventually re-establishing a wild population on the island.

 

Find out more about the café marron at Kew Gardens and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

See images of the café marron on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

Jan 25
Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on Delicious Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on Digg Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on Facebook Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on reddit Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on StumbleUpon Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on Email Share 'Endangered Species of the Week: European mink' on Print Friendly

Endangered Species of the Week: European mink

European mink (Mustela lutreola)

European mink (Mustela lutreola)

Species: European mink (Mustela lutreola)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: The European mink is one of Europe’s most endangered mammals.

More information:

Weighing up to a maximum of 1kg, the European mink is the smaller relative of the American mink (Neovison vison). A distinctive mark of white around the upper and lower lips of the European mink can help to distinguish between the two species.

This species is mainly nocturnal, hunting and feeding at night on a variety of prey including water voles, birds, frogs, molluscs, crabs, fish and insects. It is able to hunt both on land and in water across large home ranges of up to 15km of river. Partly webbed feet and a thick, water-repellent undercoat mean that the European mink is well suited to its semi-aquatic lifestyle.

A century ago the European mink could be found throughout the European continent, but its population is thought to have since declined by over 90%.  In 2011, the IUCN upgraded the status of the European mink from Endangered (EN) to Critically Endangered (CR) due to ongoing population decline.

This severe decline is a result of various threats, including habitat loss, commercial trapping for fur, competition from the introduced American mink and accidental mortality through pest control, poisoning and vehicle collisions. The European mink is also susceptible to Aleutian disease, a highly contagious virus that causes an often lethal infection.

Captive breeding programmes are underway for this species in an attempt to successfully establish new European mink populations. Further research is being undertaken to assess the viability of captive breeding as a technique for the conservation of this species. In Spain and France, the populations of European mink seem to be suffering from inbreeding, a problem which could be addressed by the introduction of new, captive-bred individuals.

The European mink is legally protected in all the countries in which it occurs.

 

Find out more about the European mink at the IUCN Red List and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

See images of the European mink on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author

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